LIFEalerts – Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse

USA – New study: when teens use pot, drug addiction more likely to follow.

A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics shows Teens who try marijuana or other drugs are at greater risk of developing a drug addiction than those who wait a few years before experimenting with drugs. Co-lead author Dr Nora Volkow, director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has said in a news release, “This study provides further evidence that delaying substance exposure until the brain is more fully developed may lower risk for developing a substance use disorder.” The study analysed data from the U.S. National Surveys on Drug Use and Health to assess the proportion of adolescents (aged 12 to 17) and young adults (aged 18 to 25) who had an addiction at various intervals since the first time they used or misused one of nine different drugs.

Rates of past-year cannabis use disorder were greater among teens than young adults at all the time points since first use of the drug. For example, within 12 months since first cannabis use, nearly 11% of adolescents had the disorder, compared with just over 6% of young adults. According to study co-author Emily Einstein, “Research has shown that brain development continues into a person’s 20s, and that age of drug initiation is a very important risk factor for developing addiction.” More

USA – Methamphetamine users more susceptible to have medical, mental, and substance use issues

A new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine shows people who use methamphetamine experienced a combination of medical, mental, and substance use issues, including all three simultaneously. The most common illnesses associated with methamphetamine use were liver disease (hepatitis or cirrhosis), lung disease (COPD or asthma), and HIV/AIDS. Methamphetamine is a commonly trafficked drug known for its illicit recreational usage, with few medical uses to treat obesity or attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) that remain rare due to concerns over neurotoxicity. It is a highly addictive and potent stimulant affecting the central nervous system, causing higher focus and energy levels when consumed at low concentrations but can induce psychosis, skeletal muscle breakdown, and brain bleeding at higher concentrations. More, Study.

Colorado – Using drugs, alcohol and tobacco at a young age increase premature heart problems

The numbers of young adults with heart disease (atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease) have been increasing. A new study published in the journal Heart shows that drinking, smoking, and using drugs — even recreationally — is linked to premature heart disease in young people, especially women. Due to biology, women are more susceptible than men are. They add that young adults need to be educated about the long-term effects of substance use because many feel they are invincible. Using information from the 2014–2015 nationwide Veteran’s Affairs healthcare database and the Veterans with Premature Atherosclerosis (VITAL) registry, researchers looked at recreational use of tobacco, cannabis, alcohol, and drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines.

“We knew that substances like alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs played a role in the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases (ASCVD), but we did not know that use had such profound effects in the development of premature ASCVD, particularly in women,” Dr. Robert Ochsner, chief medical officer of Colorado-based rehab facilities Sandstone Care, told Healthline. More, Study.

South Africa – Study: factors that influence drug use among youth in rural SA

Associate professor in the University of Missouri School of Health Professions grew up in a rural village in Zimbabwe seeing first-hand as a child the lack of educational opportunities that were easily accessible and how that impacted the youth in his village. Prof Wilson Majee found in a recent study that young people that a lack of educational opportunities, combined with other factors – such as a lack of motivation, absent adult role models and few recreational activities – compound to create feelings of hopelessness and despair in young people. These feelings can influence drug use and other risky behaviours. More, Study.